|Dear School Family,|
I hope you are enjoying your summer. We had a wonderful summer program and now our teachers are resting up before the new school year begins. We are excited to have your family join us in just a few short weeks!Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our School has thrived.
Thanks to our safety protocols, we are proud to share that we had uninterrupted in-person learning since reopening in September 2020. Our families’ continued caution and our teachers’ diligence in following health and safety measures helped us to achieve this goal. We were blessed to have had no cases of COVID among adults or children.
Thankfully, our teachers are now able to be vaccinated, and based on CDC and Austin Public Health recommendations, we will continue our successful practices and procedures until our students can be vaccinated as well.The CDC recommends layering multiple prevention strategies. Here are the health and safety procedures we will continue because they have worked so well:
– Students and adults wear masks inside when not eating or sleeping
– Mask breaks can be taken by students for brief periods of time indoors while using a face shield provided by the school
– Smaller numbers of students in a stable group to limit exposure
– Staggered drop off and pick up to maintain these groupings
– When two cohorts are together, masks are worn and physical distancing is maintained
Ventilation and Air Filtering
– The Church provided us with a new ventilation system that brings in fresh air to the classrooms even when doors and windows are closed
– HEPA air filtration cleans the indoor airMore activities are done outdoors, including snack and lunch, as weather permits
– Students wash their hands upon arrival and many times throughout the day
– Staff teaches hand washing procedures, visual routines are posted by the sink as a reminder, and timers are used to help students wash for at least 20 seconds
– Hand sanitizer is available throughout the school and used when washing is not an option
Staying Home When Sick and Getting Tested
– Temperature checks upon arrival
– Families use extra caution, keep sick children at home, and inform the office of symptoms
– Rapid antigen testing provided by the school at no cost, on request
– Children exposed to COVID quarantine from 10-14 days
– Students who travel by airplane, or other public transportation, quarantine for 7-10 days
Cleaning and Disinfection
– Frequently touched surfaces, including sinks and bathrooms, are sanitized daily using an electrostatic sprayer and an EPA approved disinfectant
We miss seeing families inside the School, and we had hoped that we could return to our community gatherings and events that we had prior to COVID. Due to increasing COVID numbers and a lack of vaccines for children, we will continue to have only staff in the building.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Wishing you well,
Gigi Khalsa, Head of School
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at All Saints’ Episcopal Day School
As a faculty, we want you to know that, although this is a never ending journey, we are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our dedication to social justice and peace among all people is part of our Episcopal identity. It can be seen in our curriculum, service projects, and chapel themes where we nurture respect and love for the dignity of every human being.
As educators, we want to actively fight racism. The faculty is doing a book study together to start conversations that can sometimes be uncomfortable. We know that we have to examine our own assumptions and beliefs, and work to develop our personal knowledge and growth.
We commit to every child’s experience being seen and heard. We will continue to develop curriculum where differences in our bodies, families, and lives are acknowledged and celebrated. Research tells us young children do notice differences and if we are silent, we only communicate that there is something wrong with talking about them. As children start to recognize that differences are a strength, we will help them reflect on inequality and what we can do to work towards justice.
We commit to using literature for sharing and telling the stories of individuals because we know that increases moral growth, intellectual curiosity, and promotes respect and understanding. Having a diverse library will provide students with both mirrors and windows into the world. Brenna, our Red Room teacher and our new Librarian this year, has already added 20 new titles that include people of color, and she is dedicated to finding more titles that will help children become thoughtful and brave.
Ms. Mo, our chaplain, is committed to a new Chapel theme this year: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We are going to use common language about the head, heart, and hands of each child. Our heads are used for thinking and learning, our hearts for loving and showing compassion, and our hands for doing and serving God’s people.
The command to “love your neighbor as yourself” will be the foundation of our Chapel lessons this year with a heavy emphasis on celebrating diversity, and the ways we can serve and stand up to the injustice in our community. UT’s adage states that “what happens here changes the world,” and we firmly believe that it’s our littlest learners who can make that happen.
This upcoming year we will be looking for even more ways to work on social justice as a school family. Below are some resources that may be helpful to your family in addressing these issues at home.
Please share any resources you have. Let’s learn together!
- A kindergarten teacher explains racism to young kids: “You Have the Voice”
- Sesame Street & CNN had a town hall on racism for kids and parents
- PBS is having a special event for parents: Talking to Children Authentically about Race and Racism on Tuesday, June 9th at 3:30
- The Austin Child Guidance Center and Trauma-Informed Care Consortium of Central Texas are holding an online panel discussion: Talking to Kids about Race and Racism on Thursday, June 11 at 5:30 pm